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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

‘We have a right to know’:  Former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s son wants files on his death declassified

Anil Shastri, son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri said that despite repeated requests by the family members, no post-mortem examination was conducted on his father’s body.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2019 11:30 IST
Kenneth John
Kenneth John
Hindustan Times, Prayagraj
Anil Shastri, son of late prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, wants files related to his father’s death to be declassifed.
Anil Shastri, son of late prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, wants files related to his father’s death to be declassifed. (HT File Photo )
         

Former Union minister and son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Anil Shastri will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the parliament session for declassifying documents, including the Raj Narain Committee report of 1977, relating to the death of his father in Tashkent in 1966.

Talking to HT, Shastri said his mother always said that his father’s death was a pre-planned political murder as even though he was a PM, he was deprived of basic facilities like a call bell, an attendant, oxygen cylinder, mandatory first aid etc. in his room in Tashkent on the fateful night. Besides, despite repeated requests by the family members, no post-mortem examination was conducted on his body. Anil Shastri said in his previous meeting with former prime minister Manmohan Singh, the latter had politely dissuaded him from making attempts to get the documents pertaining to the former PM’s death declassified as it could affect relations with foreign countries.

“If the documents pertaining to the death of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose can be declassified, why have successive governments stopped declassification of documents pertaining to my father’s death? We, the family members, as well as the nation have a right to know. Let the world know if there was foul play, which I think was the case as the post-mortem examination was not conducted and his personal guard, doctor, and others were all away when he died,” he said.

According to the senior Congress leader, last year the Central Information Commission (CIC) had also directed the prime minister’s office (PMO) and ministries of external affairs and home to make public the records of the Raj Narain Committee to look into the mysterious death of Shastri in 1966.

“I have been informed by sources in the PMO that the Raj Narain Committee report of 1977 has also probably gone missing. If this is true, there was much more to it than meets the eye about my father’s death. Apart from suspecting a foreign hand, the role of some Indian bureaucrats and businessmen can also not be ruled out as my father had come across a major scam in the shipping sector, against which he was about to take action after his return to India from Tashkent,” he added.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 11:30 IST